Mike Cholak is a local entrepreneur and owner of Uncle Mike’s Highway Pub. We got the opportunity to ask him a few questions about the upcoming Barstool Fund Raiser Tailgate Party, this Saturday at Uncle Mike’s Highway Pub from 11:00 AM til 12:00 AM. The event is to raise funds for the Barstool Fund to help small businesses hit hardest by our recent turbulent times.
What made you want to get involved?
I’ve always been a fan of Barstool sports from a content/entertainment perspective (watching pizza reviews, etc.) so when Dave Portnoy started raising money for small business, it felt like it was a cause that I could easily get behind. I think many people want to help out a variety of worthy causes, but they aren’t sure how to get involved. This cause felt like something that was worthy and in my wheelhouse.
Did it surprise you how fast and furious the donations came?
Yes and no. It’s been a while since I’ve ran any sort of event, so I really didn’t know what to expect. I know people want to help out small business the best they can, but I’ve been blown away by the support.
It is fantastic that you are doing a ton of stuff to make this happen to support small businesses, but how is your business doing through these crazy times?
Business is ok. I would be lying if I said that it was an easy year business wise, but I’m confident that Uncle Mike’s is going to make it through. I know there are 1000s of businesses that don’t have that same confidence. They have been kicked in the teeth. The Barstool Fund truly gives them a new life.
Any word on if Portnoy or any representatives of Barstool Sports, plan to make an appearance?
I’ve been doing everything possible to get Portnoy here, but I don’t think we will get a “personal” visit from anyone from Barstool this Saturday. With that said, I’m confident that someday soon, Portnoy will get to Kenosha and review some of the outstanding Pizza places that we have in town. We need everyone to continue sharing #bringportnoy2kenosha Stay tuned.
Name just a couple of flat-ass cool things that are going to be up for raffle this Saturday.
We wanted to do a raffle so that everyone has a chance to win. We have a ton of small prizes from local businesses. One of the things that was important to me about this event, was not to burden local business by asking for donations. Instead, we had a couple of donors step up and donate money that they wanted used to purchase prizes from local Kenosha business. This way, this event would not only support national small business via the Barstool Fund, but also local Kenosha business. If anyone wants to help out, please go purchase a few gift cards from a local business and donate them to our raffle prize table on the day of the event. I think that would be super cool. With that said, some of the bigger items that come to mind are: Gavin Lux memorabilia which is is awesome. Tristan Jass has donated some game used jerseys, and Waukegan Tire donated a set of Falkan Tires worth up to $500 plus free installation. I’m still working on a few more bangers too. Stay tuned for that as well.
The buzz around KTown is, this thing is going to be pretty huge…how big do think this thing is gonna be?
I have no idea. I’ve been trying to promote the best I can. And some of the local media is really helping to spread the word – You folks at Kenosha Sports Extra, Kenosha.com, WLIP and Lenny Palmer. Plus, it’s the dead of January and the party is primarily outside (limited seating inside). Holding an outside party in January in Wisconsin doesn’t seem like a recipe for success, but people need the help now.
Other than the obvious reason of getting much needed financial support to the small business that have been mauled by the virus, what else are you personally hoping to take from this experience?
It seems cliché and maybe a little soft, but the I think some of the personal changes and choices that I’ve had to make over the last year were the driving force behind throwing this party. Now I just want to get this party started, raise some money, and pray that I’m never dumb enough to throw an outside party in the middle of winter ever again. And also, I want to #bringportnoy2kenosha of course.
One last question, assuming you have some space available left on your being, can we get a commitment for some type of Bar Stool tattoo with some type of $$ reference?
I love this idea. In fact, now that you brought it up, I’m going to head down and see Courtney at Gold Standard Tattoo and buy a gift certificate for just that. Thanks!